Thirty or so vans gathered at Bridge Lodge, Otaki, this weekend to join the Wellington Caravan Club in their 60th Anniversary celebrations. Members from both our club, Heretaunga, and from the Wairarapa Caravan Club were invited, as well as former members of WCC.
Back in 1950 three enthusiastic Wellington businessmen placed an advertisement in the newspaper to see if there was sufficient interest to form a caravan club. The first rally of 10 vans took place in Kena Kena Motor Camp, Paraparaumu in October 1951. In these early days, many people started their caravanning adventures in home made vans. The club grew quickly and the number of members soon out-grew the capacity of Motor Camps, so rallies were held at school grounds. Entertainment was a big part of the club culture. Bands were formed, members put on shows, and performed at old peoples homes. The highest number attending a rally was recorded was in October 1972, with 115 vans in attendance, and 401 people. The numbers slowly dropped over the years as families grew up, and members moved away or passed on, or their interests changed. These days the club has a membership of 20 caravans and campers.
The main event of the weekend was the catered dinner, with place name settings ensuring that all the attending clubs were well mixed up. We enjoyed a great meal of roast pork, hot ham carved from the bone, and a good selection of both hot vegetables, cold cuts and salads. The dessert was yummy too, with the local firm “Raewyn’s” doing the catering.
Speeches were made and it was very fitting that one of the men involved with setting up the club all those years ago was able to talk about his reminiscences of the fun times from those early years. Then it was time for the cutting of the cake.
I got quite a surprise when I heard my name called out to go up to the front of the hall with another member Marle. It was announced that we were both celebrating our birthdays this weekend, and we joined in with everyone else singing “Happy Birthday”.
The after dinner entertainment was the duo Adele and David from Levin, who played all those happy “sing-a-long songs” we all know and love.
It was a very well run weekend, with President Adele and her helpers doing a wonderful job. Thanks so much WCC, we really enjoyed ourselves.